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In Japan They Call Them "Mother Machines"

5. July 2015

“Mother machine” is the term used to describe a machine that makes other machines.  Typically, these “mother machines” are large enough to accommodate and machine complete headstocks, columns, beds, and the other largest components that are used in an assembled machine tool. And don’t forget, there are some very large machine tools out there, so the largest mother machines are really big. Obviously, there comes a point in size where the machine used to process the components is not larger than the machine it’s building.  But I’ve always thought it impressive when a machine builder was granted the status as a supplier of mother machines.

In this case, size is important. But it isn’t everything. When any manufacturer uses their own products to make more of their own products, whatever size, that says a lot about that company’s confidence and quality. It tells me that they believe in their products and that they will use them wherever and whenever they can.

Since 1974 Mazak has been committed to the continuous advancement of its North American Manufacturing Plant to support the ever-changing technology demands of its customers. In doing so, the leading machine tool builder has also exceeded the stringent quality management standards required for ISO 9001:2008 certification, which was affirmed during the recent recertification of its manufacturing plant and spindle rebuild operations. 

The recertification comes on the heels of Mazak adopting what it refers to as the iSMART Factory concept, an all-encompassing manufacturing vision set to further improve the production efficiency of its Kentucky-based North American Manufacturing Plant. It is a dynamic, ongoing and limitless concept that uses advanced manufacturing cells and systems together with full digital integration to achieve free-flow data sharing for process control and operation monitoring. 

The Mazak North American Manufacturing Plant has undergone 16 expansions to date. And with each expansion, the company has advanced the facility’s engineering capabilities, product development and production efficiency to effectively support the growing technology demands of its customers across all industry segments. 

As part of the iSMART concept implementation, Mazak invested $30 million into its Kentucky manufacturing operations in 2014, with $19 million of it spent on new capital equipment. Inside its 536,000-square-foot North American Manufacturing Plant, Mazak manufactures more than 100 different types of turning and machining center models.

“We take great pride in our Kentucky operations and the ongoing investment in our plant ensures the efficient, high-quality manufacture of our machine tools and equipment today and well into the future. And while we know our commitment to quality stands strong, it feels good to have official acknowledgment through ISO 9001:2008 certification,” said Brian Papke, president of Mazak Corporation.  

In place for more than a decade, ISO 9001:2008 certification is a standard that measures a company’s method of quality control as well as provides a framework to manage a business. The standard is based on several quality management principles, including strong customer focus, the motivation of top management and continual improvement. Furthermore, the use of the standard helps ensure that customers consistently receive good quality products and services. 

The recertification process requires annual follow-up visits and a complete audit by an external, impartial expert every three years to verify that Mazak has implemented an effective quality management system and continues to satisfy all of the requirements set forth by the program. 

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